President Muhammadu Buhari is keeping his pledge to run an open and transparent government, as the nation witnessed a public opening of technical and commercial bids for the purchase and sale of Nigeria’s crude oil yesterday.
The unprecedented publicised opening of the technical and commercial bids by 278 firms for the purchase of the nation’s crude oil by NNPC in Abuja, drew comments from the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, during a brief media chat in Maiduguri, where he was, while the opening of the bids were taking place
The Vice President said ‘’ as you know, our most important revenue earner is crude oil and whatever is associated with it, ought to be transparently handled and that’s why you’ve seen that the crude oil round of bids, the term bids, were done in the open and that is a tradition that we intend to continue.’’
Before now Nigerians only found out about the crude oil bids through an official announcement of the winner in a process that had little or no trace of public accountability.
Prof. Osinbajo however added that ‘’ every Nigerian will be entitled to see for his or her self that there is a fair process and that process is one that they themselves can interrogate and that’s exactly what we intend to do’’, he assured.
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo stated ‘’ that processes will be open, accounts will be open, people will be able to see for themselves, they would know what is going on. That is the entitlement of every citizen of Nigeria.’’
Meanwhile, the Vice President has clarified that the Buhari Presidency will not be naming a Coordinating Minister of the economy; a practice introduced in the last administration. Prof. Osinbajo made the explanation while receiving the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Richardson, in his office.
It would be recalled that during the National Economic Summit in Abuja four weeks ago, the Vice President was asked during a Presidential Dialogue why the President was absent at the Summit. In his response, the Vice President explained that the President wished to be present, but due to pressing national engagements he couldn’t attend. He apologised and then noted that as Vice President his role is to supervise the economy.
He added earlier today that ‘’ we are not going to have a system like where there was a coordinating minister. No, there would not be anything like that.’’
He said as Vice President his role is ‘’ to ensure that everyone that is involved in economic activities, that there is a way by which the President is fully apprised of what everyone is doing such that we are all on same page and to make it easier for the President to make decisions.’’
Prof. Osinbajo also expressed the willingness of the Federal Government to deepen the existing bilateral relations especially in the area of economic cooperation with the Government of Australia, in mining, agriculture, shipping and transport sectors as well as in the area of infrastructure development.
Explaining the reason for Nigeria’s interest in the deepening of economic cooperation between the two countries, Prof. Osinbajo said ‘’the Federal Government would be interested in exploring deeper relationship on economic cooperation as it is a major area in diversifying our economy’’.
He lauded Nigeria’s excellent bilateral relations with Australia and commended the Australian government for the various capacity building initiatives in Nigeria and its investments in some key sectors of the economy.
The High Commissioner of Australia to Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Richardson noted that his country’s bilateral relations with Nigeria had grown over the years. He disclosed that his country is seeking to enhance relations with Nigeria in areas of commercial development and is ready to offer technical assistance in some sectors which the country has given priority to.